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Daily Devotions – Take up your cross

Matthew 16:21-28 (ESV)

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord![a] This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance[b] to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

This week we will look at several more teachings from Scripture which show the connections between walking through danger and walking toward life. This scene from Matthew occurs right after Peter made the bold statement that Jesus was the Son of God (Mt 16:16). Jesus begins to explain that he will need to die. When Peter complains, Jesus calls him an agent of Satan! Jesus then gives one of his most important teachings: when we have true faith in Christ, we stop looking for our ease and comfort in this life (“deny yourself”), and we accept the suffering and dangers which comes from doing God’s work and obeying God (“taking up your cross”). This is total life faith, and those who have this faith will “save their souls.” We are often like Peter: we want the blessings of God and salvation, but we don’t want it to cost anything. If it costs Christ–then we owe him our life, and we don’t like that! Nor do we want to lose any of our favorite things to gain the greater blessing of God’s kingdom. What are you holding on to that is keeping you from accepting the risks of completely following Christ?